NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X10.01-9134
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic and Non-Toxic Storable Propellant Space Engines
PROPOSAL TITLE: Propellant Flow Actuated Piezoelectric Rocket Engine Igniter

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Innovative Engineering Solutions
26200 Adams Avenue
Murrieta, CA 92562 - 7060
(951) 304-7600

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark A Wollen
26200 Adams Ave
Murrieta, CA 92562 - 7060
(619) 593-7750 Extension :103

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 7

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Under a Phase 1 effort, IES successfully developed and demonstrated a spark ignition concept where propellant flow drives a very simple fluid mechanical oscillator to excite a piezoelectric crystal. The Phase 1 effort exceeded expectations, with the device demonstrating reliable ignition of both hydrogen and propane fuels, and achieving in excess of 1 million impact cycles (40,000 start cycles) during fatigue testing without measureable degradation. Several spin-off concepts were also identified that provide additional options for improving spark ignition system design. For Phase 2, IES proposes an accelerated, 18 month effort to refine design concepts and analysis tools, and then develop specific ignition system designs for two customer applications, with the intention of having these ignition systems demonstrated in engine ground testing during Phase 2 and ready to start flight qualification immediately following the Phase 2 effort. Both customers (United Launch Alliance and Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne) have expressed interest and commitment in participating in the Phase 2 activity, making engines and facilities available for development testing, and integrating any resulting viable products into their flight engines. The ULA application is a new gaseous bipropellant H2/O2 attitude control thruster, for which the piezoelectric igniter is ideal as a simple, direct ignition source. The PWR application is for an evolved RL-10 study currently underway, for which the piezoelectric system might be scaled up or used as a pilot igniter for a torch, or make use of another spin-off concept that was identified during the Phase 1 effort. The timing of this Phase 2 effort coincides perfectly with near term needs of both these customers, as well as for other small engine applications in work to replace catalytic hydrazine engines with bi-propellant engines that will require a simple and reliable ignition source.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Two specific commercial customers that regularly provide services for NASA have identified strong interest in this technology, with intent to implement the technology if Phase II development is successful. One application is a new gaseous H2/O2 attitude control and settling thruster currently under development by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for Atlas upper stage. The second application is a new ignition system for the Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) evolved RL-10 engine. Both ULA and PWR have stated their interest and intention to provide facility access and test opportunities concurrent with any Phase II effort. A third potential application is for ignition of any bi-propellant thrusters to be installed on the CRYOTE (Cryogenic Orbital Testbed) currently of interest to NASA and ULA. This testbed might use either the ULA thrusters mentioned above, or another engine identified by NASA. Numerous other NASA applications for very simple spark igniters are inevitable as small catalytic monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters are replaced by cleaner bipropellant thrusters for satellite and upper stage attitude control purposes.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aside from the ULA and PWR applications mentioned above (both of which also provide non-NASA services to commercial satellite operations and military customers such as Air Force), other potential commercial aerospace and industrial applications include gas turbine igniters for aircraft or ground power applications, furnace combustor ignition, flare stack ignition systems for hydrogen or methane, etc.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Fluid Storage and Handling
Fundamental Propulsion Physics
Manned-Maneuvering Units
Micro Thrusters

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29